Chicago Drowning Incident Attorneys
Each year in the U.S., about 3,500 people drown in accidents not related to boats, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s about ten deaths each day. In comparison, boat-related drownings surprisingly account for only about 330 fatal accidents each year. That means that thousands of people die every year (both indoors and outdoors) at backyard pools, theme parks, water parks, lakes, ponds, public pools and in bathtubs. One in five of these deaths relate to children under the age of 15, and for every child death, five other children are treated for nonfatal submersion injuries by an emergency department. Many of these nonfatal accidents do, however, result in serious and permanent long-term injuries such as brain damage.
Unintentional drownings therefore remain a serious and pervasive problem in every city across the country, including Chicago. If you or someone you care about has been seriously hurt in such an incident, the Chicago drowning accident lawyers of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC can help you. Contact us at (312) 644-0444 for a free consultation.
Can a Lawsuit Be Filed for Drowning?
People are responsible for their own property and owe others a duty to keep that property safe and in good repair. When an owner fails in this regard, he or she is responsible for any harm that follows. That’s why responsible homeowners usually pay for a "homeowners insurance policy," which protects them in the event of an accident. In the same way, owners of public pools, waterparks, and theme parks carry commercial insurance policies which often have limits of many millions of dollars. In the event of a lawsuit, it is then the owner’s insurance company that is financially responsible for any death or injury.
When a loved one has died or been injured due to a water-related accident, the law offices of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC can immediately explore whether a lawsuit may be successfully filed. Time is important when considering the filing of such a suit, because…
- There are strict court deadlines for filing, and
- Important evidence may disappear over time.
For instance, we may need to quickly send an investigator to take photos of the pool and surrounding areas before the owner fixes defects or destroys evidence; it can hurt your case when evidence is lost. There are never any attorney fees to discuss your possible case or for us to investigate, so call us 24 hours a day at (800) 996-4824 for immediate free information. Millions of dollars have already been collected for our clients and their families.
Suing a Pool Owner Under the Illinois Law of Premises Liability
In Illinois, the owner of any facility (including a pool) owes a "duty" to keep others safe. How much of a duty is owed depends to some extent on whom the other person is. If the other person is a "licensee" (someone who has paid to use the pool) or "invitee" (someone who was invited to use the pool), he is owed a higher duty than a "trespasser." Yet even trespassers are owed some duty. In any event, owners must still do their best to maintain safety on their property. Some examples of negligent conditions that may give rise to a lawsuit against the owner(s) include:
- A failure to keep/maintain safety and rescue equipment on-site in case of an accident
- A failure to keep the pool or facilities in proper repair
- A failure to provide a proper number of lifeguards for the particular circumstances
- A failure to warn users of hidden dangers
- A failure to keep a cover on the pool when not in use
- A failure to post proper warning signs, including depth of the pool
- A failure to install or maintain a fence or barrier around pool
- A failure to install alarms on gates or install gate latches at the proper height
- A failure to secure or lock the pool or spa’s steps and ladders
What Factors Increase the Risk of Drowning?
Many factors up the odds that an adult or child will drown in a body of water. But some of the most common influences include:
- Alcohol Use: The use of alcohol affects parts of the brain that control speech, movement, memory, and judgment, quickly creating a very dangerous situation. That’s why most pools have a sign that says “alcohol prohibited.” Although drinking alcohol is voluntary, if the owner of a pool or waterpark encourages alcohol consumption near water, a lawsuit may be filed alleging that the pool owner was negligent.
- Inadequate Swimming Skills: Not everyone is a great swimmer. But when a pool owner welcomes people who are known to be subpar swimmers and an accident occurs, under some circumstances the owner may be liable for such injury or death.
- Inadequate Supervision: Although adults are assumed to be capable of caring for themselves, the age of the swimmers, the number of swimmers, the depth of the pool, and many similar factors all influence how much supervision must be provided by the pool owner. Is it a birthday pool party for 3rd graders? Is it a cocktail party for adults? Is it a high-speed waterpark ride? Each of these situations requires a differing amount of supervision or lifeguard involvement.
- Seizure Disorders: Those known to suffer from seizures should be closely monitored by pool owners, as drowning is a very common source of injury or death for those affected.
- Lack of Barriers: Pools, water slides, and other bodies of water need fences to keep people (especially children) away from danger. Almost every city, from Chicago to Quincy, has laws that require safety fencing around pools and specific rules about the height and construction of such fencing. In addition, state and federal laws sometimes also apply. When these rules are broken or ignored, death or injury is sure to follow and those responsible for such negligence must be held responsible.
- Circulation Entrapment: Drain suction fittings must be periodically inspected to make sure that they are in working order, of the proper size, and meet safety standards. If the pool has a single drain, a vacuum release safety system may be appropriate. Otherwise, body entrapment or entanglement can occur when hair, limbs, or jewelry become stuck. In such circumstances, injury or death may occur and those responsible for maintenance of the pool may be held legally responsible.
Speak to an Attorney Experienced with Drowning Injuries
For more than 25 years, the experienced Chicago injury attorneys affiliated with Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC have helped individuals and families touched by the negligence of others. We believe that those responsible for injury or death should always be held accountable; and since 1990, many millions of dollars have been collected for our deserving clients and our client families. No fees are ever charged unless we are successful on your behalf, so call us anytime, 24 hours a day, and hear how we can help you. Our toll-free number is (800) 996-4824.